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Transgender Americans: We're Not Mentally Ill

Transgender Americans: We're Not Mentally Ill

The American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental illness until 1974. Today it still considers transgender Americans mentally ill. According to the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), transgendered people suffer from Gender Identity Disorder. Activists argue that the diagnosis reinforces false stereotypes about people who are not "gender normal" and in some cases is used to deny people civil rights.

During this year's APA conference in San Francisco, activists are working to make the classification a thing of the past. They say:

It is time for culturally competent psychiatric policies that recognize the legitimacy of cross-gender identity and yet distinguish gender dysphoria (which often requires a sex-reassignment surgery) as a serious condition, treatable with medical procedures.

Members of the ADA, some transgender themselves, are also arguing that identifying with or expressing a gender different from assigned birth sex is not, in itself, grounds for diagnosing a mental disorder.

Do you think it's time the APA stops considering people who don't identify with conventional gender mentally ill?

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